The BEST Improvement We’ve Made to Our Home!

How One Room Was Transformed From UGLY to HAPPY

entryway DIY improvement before and after

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This is the project that makes me smile multiple times a day. I love it even more than the kitchen reno we did a few years ago. Wait! What could be better than a new kitchen?

A welcoming entryway! Seriously. My husband and I did this DIY home improvement project earlier this spring. Before that, we had an UGLY “breezeway” that seemed to work just fine for the males of the household.

If you already have a bright, decorated, happy place to gaze upon when you enter or leave your home, you might not understand. Just imagine living with THIS for about 10 years. I know the picture quality is terrible and I apologize – I never thought it would end up anywhere other than my phone.

old dark and ugly entryway


My husband and sons simply could not comprehend how much I hated that area. Oh, I don’t know, maybe because it was the first and last area of our home that we (and anyone else who visited) saw Every. Single. Day. It looked like someone’s forgotten backyard storage shed. It was dark and stuffed with junk and dirty and UGLY.

Love this bright, organized, and functional entryway! Read through to find out how it was done on a budget and what products really make it work. #DIY #mudroom #farmhousedecor
Click the image above to Pin for later

“We need to redo the entry,” I would say about twice a year.

“Why?” my loving husband would reply. “It’s just a breezeway – a place to get out of the wind and cold before coming into the house.” To him, it was completely functional.

Meanwhile, I was pinning entryway inspirations (you can visit my Pinterest Entryway Ideas board here) and dreaming about the day it would change.

Finally, after something like 10 years of living with the UGLY, I convinced my husband that it had to change. Our older son was graduating and had decided he wanted his party at the house (to which I stupidly agreed). About six weeks before the party, I saw my chance.

“Just help me get everything out of there. I’ll do the rest.” I promised.

The next day everything actually was out of there and we got to work. Some electrical work needed to be finished, which took a couple of days. Then my husband did the insulating – which is probably the nastiest job EVER and I was soooooo glad he volunteered to do it. He also wanted the ceiling to be drywall, so he and my older son put that up – not easy in an 8’x7′ room with a sloped ceiling.

The next weekend was the annual all-boys fishing trip, so I had the place to myself.

I got all of the wood for the walls cut and installed. That was a job! Wood is heavy! I used some reclaimed 2’x4′ shelving that my husband had gotten free from a jobsite because it was going to be thrown into the dumpster. It looks much better in my house. 😉

I was going for a semi-rustic kinda-farmhouse look, so I just nailed it all up with the pneumatic nailer and didn’t worry about seams or nail holes or anything like that.

entryway improvement begins with pine on the walls and drywall ceiling

After some painting, we put down the flooring. We used some prefinished knotty pine that was leftover from the kitchen project, so that was also free.

My next project was building the storage areas. I needed places for coats and hats/gloves, two recycling bins, dog food, shoes/boots, and water. (The water at our house tastes icky, so we keep plenty of drinking water on hand.)

After sketching and thinking and figuring, I built the shelving (all from that same salvaged wood), got it all painted and installed, built a bench, put up the baseboard and trim, and called it good for the party.

first entryway shelving layout wasn't quite right

Whew! Happy Day!

entryway improvement in progress with front door and coat rack

Some people might question the use of wood floors in an area where rainwater and melting snow land every day. I tried a few different rug options from what I already had because I didn’t want to spend any money, but then I ended up buying these Andersen 280 WaterHog Indoor/Outdoor Floor Mats in the 3’x4′ size after hearing great reviews from friends.

I absolutely LOVE them! They don’t let any water through and have a non-skid rubberized backing. If you have hard floors, you know what a pain it can be keeping a rug in place. I only have to adjust these about 1/4” every week or so. I purchased two smaller rugs instead of one large rug so they would be easier to pick up for taking outside to wash.

But even though I still needed to finish the room (I had more plans in my head), something was bothering me. It wasn’t QUITE right. So I went back to the Pinterest inspirations and studied them.

FINALLY, after a few months, I realized the bench was in the wrong place. It should have been placed in the middle of the two storage areas, not off to the side. Once I figured it out, it only took a day to fix the problem and then a couple more days to do the rest of the finishing touches that had been in my head for months.

Now it looks like THIS with my winter decorations.

finished entryway with farmhouse decor

Sometimes I just sit on the bench and sip coffee or stand in the doorway looking around with happiness. My home looks better AND works better now. I don’t know why I waited so long to do this (I think that every time we do a home improvement project), but I’m glad it’s finally looking the way I knew it could!

Cost breakdown:
Insulation $75
Drywall $20
Primer $20 (I already had paint from other projects)
Nails $5
Closet rod brackets $5
1×2 wood trim pieces $20
Ceiling light $5
Rugs (Amazon) $85
Black baskets (Lowe’s) $30

Total spent: $265

Even after renovating our entire house, THIS is my favorite project >> The Entryway! #DIY #loveyourhome Click To Tweet

Related posts:
Five Inexpensive Ways to Love Your Home
The Indoorsy Woman’s Ultimate Winter Survival Guide
The Slow Declutter: A Lower-Stress Way to Clear Your Home

Here’s another photo of the rugs, just because I love them. (My son had friends over on the day I took this photo, lots of extra shoes.)

new entryway waterhog rugs fit the farmhouse decor

Have you changed anything in your home that has made a huge difference in how you feel every day? What was it? Is there something about your home that bothers you every day? Change it! I promise, you will not be sorry! 

Did you enjoy this post? Please take a moment to share on Pinterest or your favorite social media channel… thank you!

Wow! What a difference! Some DIY and a few organizing touches really transformed this mudroom. The farmhouse style makes it look so cozy, and I love the practical touches that really make it functional. So pretty! Click through to see how she did it for hardly any money... #DIY #organizing #farmhousedecor

The BEST Improvement We've Made to our Home! -

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